Conservatives cheer as State Chamber of Oklahoma supports ‘Shannon-Fallin tax cut’

OKLAHOMA CITY – A representative of the Oklahoma State Chamber of Commerce told CapitolBeatOK the group supports an income tax cut proposal advanced from the House to the Senate.

Responding to the news, the state’s leading advocate of income tax reductions said the Chamber’s position is “exciting and encouraging.” 

In response to questions from CapitolBeatOK, spokeswoman Jennifer Monies said the Chamber supports House Bill 2032 “in its current form.” Monies works for the group’s president, former state Rep. Fred Morgan. 

H. B. 2032, sponsored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, would reduce the state’s personal income tax rate to 4.99 percent, down from its present 5.25 percent rate. 

Monies sent CapitolBeatOK, via email, the Chamber’s formal policy on income taxes: “Support a gradual reduction of personal income tax, provided that the tax burden will not be shifted onto business, valuable economic development incentives will be protected and core state services will not be underfunded.”

Elaborating, Monies said Shannon’s legislation “meets all of those criteria with a gradual reduction in the rate without cost-shifting to business. On the others, we are waiting to see how they shape up as they get closer to finalization.”

Support for H.B. 2032 does not necessarily imply opposition to competing proposals, as Monies explained, “Traditionally, we haven’t taken a position on any of the proposals until they are in a more finalized form because they are constantly changing and evolving and get caught up in budget negotiations anyway.”

The Senate has its own tax reform measure, and sent to the House a proposal to lower rates and include some changes in exemptions and deductions. 

The Chamber’s position on H.B. 2032 was immediately applauded by the state’s leading free market public policy think tank. 

The importance of this is that (Gov.) Sam Brownback succeeded with his income tax cut last year in Kansas because the state’s business community was the biggest voice behind tax cuts,” said Michael Carnuccio, president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs (OCPA). 

To have Chamber backing the governor and the speaker is an important, encouraging and exciting development in this year’s debate over tax reduction. It is reason for hope, that the business community and the conservative movement now are aligned, to back the Fallin-Shannon tax cut for 2013,” Carnuccio concluded. 

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